Tag Archives: Laini Taylor

Best Series Blog Hop: Win One of the DAUGHTER OF SMOKE & BONE Books

best-series_blog-hop

I’m pretty excited to be participating in the Best Series Blog Hop, hosted by Cuddlebuggery! In this giveaway hop, we’re celebrating young adult series that we love, and offering a giveaway based on that series. I decided to pick Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke & Bone series, and if your name is randomly chosen, you will get to pick one of these three books:

Book #1: Daughter of Smoke & Bone

Book #2: Days of Blood & Starlight

Book #3: Dreams of Gods & Monsters

So if you haven’t yet started the series, you can catch the beginning, and because of some really good timing, the last book, Dreams of Gods & Monsters, will be released just as this giveaway hop is ending, so you can choose that one if you’ve already read the other two.

This giveaway is international, provided The Book Depository ships to your country. Ready to enter? Simply click on the Rafflecopter below:

Raffle button

 

And don’t forget to check out the other blogs on this hop! Click here to see the list.

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Tammy’s Top Ten Unusual Character Names

Top Ten Tuesday New copy

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, and is an awesome meme where you can join in the Top Ten fun with other bloggers! Oh you guys, there are so many great Top Ten Tuesdays from now until the end of the year! I usually only do one or two TTT a month, but for the next few months the themes are really fun, and I expect to be participating a lot more. This week is no exception! I love finding odd and unusual character names, so this was a fairly easy task for me. I could have easily come up with twice as many, but I’ll stick with these ten for now:

1

Morpheus 1

Morpheus from Splintered and Unhinged by A.G. Howard. OK, Morpheus might not be that unusual of a name, but I love the character so much, that I just had to include him:) He’s the so-bad-he’s-awesome character that everyone loves!

                                                   Splintered      Unhinged

2

Buruu

Buruu from Stormdancer and Kinslayer by Jay Kristoff. If you haven’t read these amazing books, Buruu is a thunder tiger, a creature of legend that actually exists in Kristoff’s books. Buruu is like the Japanese version of a griffin, part eagle, part tiger.

                                                    Stormdancer     FIVE STARS*****

3

Karou

Karou from Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor. Karou is a girl who made a wish that she could have blue hair, and so she does!

                                                   daughter of smoke     Days of Blood and Starlight

4

Kvothe

Kvothe from The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. Here’s a name that’s nearly impossible to pronounce. According to Rothfuss, it sounds a little like the word “quote.”

                                                Name of the wind     Wise Man's Fear

5

Mookie pearl

Mookie Pearl from The Blue Blazes by Chuck Wendig. Of course, I can’t do a Top Ten without mentioning a Chuck Wendig book! I adore Mookie’s name, and I adore the character of Mookie, too!

The Blue Blazes

6

Octavius

Octavius from Sea Change by S. M. Wheeler. Octavius, how I love you! Octavius is a Kraken (like a giant octopus) and I love that his name describes the number of legs he has.

Sea Change

7

Raz Pelham

Raz Pelham from Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone. Raz is a vampire, and he was one of my favorite characters from the book. Unfortunately, he’s not in book two, which I’m reading right now (Two Serpents Rise), but that’s ok. I know he’ll be back…

Three Parts Dead

8

Zenn Scarlett 1

Zenn Scarlett from Zenn Scarlett by Christian Schoon. I adore this name, and I kind of wish it was mine:) Zenn lives in space somewhere and studies unusual alien space animals. A cool job for a girl with a cool name…

                                              Zenn Scarlett       Under-Nameless-Stars-small

9

bellis coldwine

Bellis Coldwine from The Scar by China Mieville. This is one of my all-time favorite books, and Bellis is one of the more unusual names I’ve run across.

The Scar

10

Myfawny Thomas

Myfanwy Thomas from The Rook by Daniel O’Malley. Definitely the strangest name I’ve ever come across (with apologies to any Welsh people out there!) “Myfanwy” supposedly rhymes with “Tiffany,” if that helps you out.

The Rook2

So there you have it! What about you? What are your favorite or the most unusual character names you’ve run across?

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Tammy’s Top Ten Authors On My Auto-Buy List

Top Ten Tuesday New copy

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish! It’s been a while since I’ve done a Top Ten Tuesday, but I couldn’t pass up this week’s theme. It was hard to narrow the list down to ten authors, because there are many more than that whose books I buy the minute they’re released. But these ten, except for a couple of relatively new writers, are authors I’ve loved for many years and I don’t even think twice before purchasing their books. If you read this blog on a regular basis, I don’t think the first one will surprise you…

1Stephen King.  My very first book purchase Stephen Kingwith my own money was The Stand, and after that I never looked back. I’ve been collecting Stephen King for…many years! And yes, he’s had some duds, but I still love the man despite his flaws. Hey, isn’t that what love’s all about? Even bookish love??

2Joe Hill. Like father, like son—sort of.Joe Hill Joe Hill definitely got the talent genes from his father, but he’s got his own unique brand of horror. So far I haven’t been disappointed by anything he’s written. Not only does he write fiction, but he writes a pretty amazing graphic novel called Locke & Key. His latest NOS4A2 comes out this year!

3Dan Simmons. Words cannot express how muchDan I adore his books. Some of my fondest reading memories involve Dan Simmons novels. He’s one of those writers who can write just about any genre he wants to, and he does each one so well. He also has a new book coming out soon, but it might not be until 2014.

4Ann Patchett. When I read Bel Canto, I knew that I had discovered a very special writer. Although some of her earlier novels didn’t affect me as much, she seems to get better and better with each book she writes. Her latest novel, State of Wonder, was pretty amazing. If you haven’t read Bel Canto yet—well honestly, why haven’t you??

5Donna Tartt. Tartt takes ten years orDonna Tartt more to write each book, so she’s only written two books so far (and her third has just been announced). Even though I didn’t love her second book, The Little Friend, I would put her on my auto-buy list based on The Secret History. Seriously, anyone reading this that hasn’t read that book needs to do so, immediately!

6Christopher Moore. Moore is another authorChristopher Moore I’ve been collecting for more than twenty years. Since his first hysterically funny novel, Practical Demonkeeping, he’s had me hooked with his off-beat brand of humor and crazy story lines. In fact he’s one of the few humorous writers that actually makes me laugh:) Ah, Fluke, my very favorite Moore!

7J. K. Rowling. I’ll admit I still haven’t got J.K. Rowling around to reading The Casual Vacancy, but I will soon. Rowling is another author that grows with each book, and I love the fact that she can write children’s books and then turn around and write an adult book that is the complete opposite of Harry Potter.

8China Miéville. OK, this choice may seem odd China Mieville, because Miéville’s written two books that I just couldn’t finish. But he’s also written some of my all-time favorites, and I can’t ignore the fact that he just might write another one! So because of Perdido Street Station and The Scar, he makes my list.

9Laini Taylor. You may know her for Laini TaylorDaughter of Smoke & Bone and Days of Blood & Starlight, but Taylor has written other gorgeously written, carefully crafted novels as well. Her writing is what draws me in, and her characters are what keep me reading.

10Alice Hoffman. My first Alice Hoffman bookAlice Hoffman was Turtle Moon, and I was enchanted by her quirky characters and magical stories. I wanted my life to be like a Hoffman novel, and so I’ve read pretty much everything she’s written. I don’t think I’ve ever been disappointed.

Thanks for stopping by! I’d love to hear about your “auto-buy authors”!

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Tammy’s Top Ten Books I Resolve to Read in 2013

Top Ten Tuesday2Happy 2013, everyone! I hope you have a wonderful year full of marvelous reading! As happens every year, I am not quite able to squeeze in all the reading I want to, so I’ve compiled my list of the Top Ten Books I was never able to get to, but I’m going to try my darnedest to read in 2013. Thanks to The Broke and the Bookish for hosting Top Ten Tuesday!

Here’s my list, in no particular order:

1. Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor. It’s unbelievable that I haven’t read this yet! I will not let it get away this time…

2. The Diviners by Libba Bray. I’ve read so many rave reviews and seen this book on so many top ten lists, and I’m so excited to find the time to see if everything I’ve read is true!

3. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I don’t think this book is for everyone, because some readers that I really trust say they didn’t like it at all, but I still want to see what all the fuss is about.

4. The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling. Here’s another book that’s had its share of mixed reviews, but I love J. K. and I’m curious to see her in a different light.

5. Talullah Rising by Glen Duncan. I rated the first book of this series, The Last Werewolf, in my top ten for 2011, and so I was really looking forward to the next story.

6. Origin by Jessica Khoury. I was really looking forward to this book months before its release, but by the time it came out, I was buried under my TBR pile…

7. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. Maggie has written two of my all-time faves (Lament and Ballad) and I certainly don’t want to pass this one by.

8. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan. I saw this pop up on some top ten lists, and I’m disappointed that I didn’t have the chance to put it on my list this year.

9. Scarlet by A. C. Gaughen. Not to be confused with the other Scarlet that comes out this year, I saw this book on at least four or five top ten lists, and now I’m resolved to read it this year!

10. Team Human by Justine Larbalestier. This humorous vampire spoof never made it to the top of my pile, but I plan to remedy that!

How about you? What books are you resolving to read this year?

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Stacking the Shelves (13)

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews, and is a fun way to share the books you’ve acquired over the past week. After being very disappointed at being turned down to read Poison by Bridget Zinn, the next day I found myself approved for three other titles, and the week just kept getting better after that! I guess the lesson is “never give up.” So here’s what I received this week (click on book images to go the Goodreads):

For Review via NetGalley & Edelweiss:

Absent by Katie Williams. Release date: April 1 2013 (Chronicle Books). This story about a girl who falls off the roof of her school and becomes tied to the school as a ghost reminds me a bit of The Lovely Bones.

Hysteria by Megan Miranda. Release date: February 5 2013 (Walker Children’s). From the very short Goodreads description, Hysteria sounds like a suspenseful murder mystery.

The Water Witch by Juliet Dark. Release date: February 5 2013 (Random House Publishing Group). This is book two in a series, and I have not read the first one, but this story about a magical town where mystical creatures live sounds really good. I’m hoping I don’t need to read the first one in order to enjoy it.

A Conspiracy of Alchemists by Liesel Schwarz. Release date: March 5 2013 (Del Rey). I’m a bit confused by the cover art and the release date, because I found two American editions on Goodreads with different covers and different release dates. I’m not sure which is correct, but I do like this cover! The publisher describes this book as a combination of steampunk, urban fantasy and paranormal romance, three of my favorites!

The Six-Gun Tarot by R. S. Belcher. Release date: January 22 2013 (Tor Books). I’m super excited about this, because I just featured it as my Waiting on Wednesday pick this week. The next day it popped up on NetGalley. And yesterday, I got a very nice email from the author asking me if I’d like to review it. (You can guess what my answer was).  It was meant to be, I guess! This tag-line says it all: “Buffy meets Deadwood.”

Indie Book for Review:

The Fire Inside by Raymond M. Rose. (Christopher Williams Books). The tag-line on Raymond’s website is “Writer, father, husband…tired.” After seeing that, how could I say “no” to reading his book? And it sounds pretty good too. It’s about a guy named Jack who works in a bookstore and seems normal, but really isn’t. And it’s a murder mystery as well. I’m really looking forward to reading this one!

Purchased:

Building Stories by Chris Ware. (Pantheon). Wow. I splurged on this book, because at heart I’m a collector, and this is something every serious lover of books should own. Seriously. The “book” comes in a huge box and contains an interesting assortment of comic books, hard cover books, paper backs, maps and other strangely sized items. I haven’t yet broken the shrink-wrap on the inside, but I really want to read and review this book, so eventually I’ll have to.

Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor. (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers). Do I even need to say it? This is one of my most highly anticipated books of the year. I’m going to read it by the end of December if it kills me!

I hope you got some great things this week, too! I’d love to hear about them!

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What’s On My Plate – November

Happy November everyone! Time flies when you’re reading books…I have another month of great things to read, and of course, not enough time to read them all. I also have a couple of exciting blog tours that I am participating in, as well as a few giveaways.  But first, there’s this little thing I’ve signed up for:

This is the second time I’ll be doing NaNoWriMo, and I have to say so far it’s easier the second time around. So far. However, with all the reading and writing I have to do this month, you really don’t want to come over to my house! Mopping and vacuuming are definitely going to take a back seat…

Here’s what else is on my plate:

For Review:

Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone. I’ve been trying to get to this for two months now. Sometimes a book just keeps getting pushed to the bottom of the pile, and for some reason, this is one of those books. Never fear! Three Parts Dead is the next book I’m reading, after I finish our October book club book (Yep, book club is also behind. We’re meeting in November to discuss the October book!)

Magisterium by Jeff Hirsch. This is also out already, but it’s a NetGalley approval so I’ll read it early in the month.

How Beauty Met The Beast by Jax Garren. Release date: November 19th. Received through NetGalley. As I’ve mentioned over and over, I’m going through a serious Beauty and the Beast phase. Can’t wait to read this!

Guardians of Stone by Anita Clenney. Release date: December 4th. I’m trying to get a jump on this since it releases at the beginning of December. I’m so excited to read another book from Amazon’s Montlake Romance!

Indie Books for Review:

Murder Takes Time by Giacomo Giammatteo. I can barely spell Giacomo’s last name, but I’m really looking forward to reading this murder mystery.

Royal Flush by Scott Bartlett. Scott will be giving away a copy of his book, so keep an eye out for my review and giveaway!

The Collected by Brett Battles. This is the sixth Jonathan Quinn book, and I’m pretty excited to read it.

Blog Tours:

Ghost Planet by Sharon Lynn Fisher. Next Tuesday I will have an interview with Sharon, an excerpt from the book, and a giveaway!

Passion Blue by Victoria Strauss. My blog tour stop is November 11th, and I will have an interview with Victoria and a giveaway! (I love giveaways, can you tell?)

I loved both books, and I’m super excited to be part of their blog tours.

I’m not even going to list the books I hope I’ll have time for. But next week Days of Blood & Starlight comes out, a book I’m over-the-moon excited to read, so if I add anything extra, it will be this. I hope you read some great books this month!

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Tammy’s Top Ten Books On My Fall Reading List

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every week they come up with a different Top Ten list so bloggers can share with each other. This week is SO hard for me! I started out with twenty-three books for a list with only ten spots, and I had to really narrow it down. Fall is typically one of the biggest seasons for new book releases, so it doesn’t surprise me that there are so many choices! But I did manage to slash my list down to ten, so here are the Top Ten books I can’t wait to read this fall, in order of release date:

Origin by Jessica Khoury. Release date: Today! I’ve had this book on my TBR for a long time, and it finally hits stores today. I can’t wait to read this story that takes place in the jungle, and from what I understand, involves jaguars and other jungle animals. And there’s romance too!

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. Release date: September 18. I love love love Maggie Stiefvater! This book’s been getting some good reviews, and the story sounds good too: ghosts, a private boys’ school, true love…what a great mix. I can’t wait!

Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff. Release date: September 18. I’ve been reading Jay’s blog for a few months now, and this guy is crazy funny. I mean, he really doesn’t take himself seriously at all. Which is good. And his book’s been getting all sorts of amazing reviews, so I’m looking forward to seeing if it lives up to the hype.

The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling. Release date: September 27. OK, seriously now, how can you not be curious about this book? OK, the cover leaves a lot to be desired, but I’m sure half the people on the planet are dying to see what her follow-up to Harry Potter is going to be like.

Magisterium by Jeff Hirsch. Release date: October 1. The reviews on this one are a bit mixed, but I’m still excited to read what’s under the gorgeous cover. A fence that holds back monsters and a father with a secret project? Sounds right up my alley.

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan. Release date: October 2. A book about a bookstore! What could be better? This sounds amazing. It takes place in a very unusual San Francisco bookstore. Goodreads says “…it evokes the fairy-tale charm of Haruki Murakami.” Wow!

Velveteen by Daniel Marks. Release date: October 9. I came across this book months ago, and forgot about it until I was trying to narrow down the books for this Top Ten. Velveteen is dead and in purgatory, and she wants to haunt the man who killed her. Awesome…

The Twelve by Justin Cronin. Release date: October 16. I’ve been dreaming and talking about this follow-up to The Passage for a long time, and it’s right around the corner. I’ll definitely have to make time in October to read this.

Rebel Heart by Moira Young. Release date: October 30. I’m a bit confused by the title of this book, the follow-up to Blood Red Road. It looks like the title is “Dust Lands” but I think that’s the name of the series. Anyway, I’m hoping it’s good. I loved Blood Red Road.

Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor. Release date: November 6. Drum roll please…words cannot tell you how excited I am to read this book! I’m trying to get an ARC, but so far no luck. I hope it lives up to Daughter of Smoke & Bone!

I’d love to see your top ten books for fall!

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Waiting on Wednesday #9: DAYS OF BLOOD & STARLIGHT by Laini Taylor

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine. I’m so excited about this week’s pick I can hardly stop myself from screaming! Here it is in all its beautiful glory:

Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Laylor. Release date: November 6, 2012.

The sequel to one of my favorite books of 2011, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, has finally been given a release date and a cover reveal. Thanks to EW’s Shelf Life for the information. Isn’t it beautiful? I couldn’t find much about the story, but here is the short description from Goodreads:

In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed “Daughter of Smoke and Bone,” Karou must come to terms with who and what she is, and how far she’ll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, mysteries and secrets, new characters and old favorites, Days of Blood and Starlight brings the richness, color and intensity of the first book to a brand new canvas.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone was declared a “must read” by Entertainment Weekly, was named a Best Book of the Year by Amazon.com, and The New York Times called it “a breath-catching romantic fantasy.”

I can’t wait to read this book. Laini Taylor is an exquisite and inventive writer, two traits that I find irresistible. If you’re waiting on Days of Blood & Starlight too, please let me know!

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Tammy’s Top Ten All Time Favorite Characters in Books

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  If you head on over to their site, you can see other bloggers’ top ten lists too. This week is tough!  I mean, what do you do? Go back to the classics?  I decided to focus on books I’ve read in the past five years or so.  And I’ve noticed my list features lots of smart, beautiful, and resourceful women. With a couple of guys thrown in!  Here we go, in no particular order:

Rudy from The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I love this book so much. And although I’m listing Rudy as my favorite character, I really love Liesel as well. This is a survival story, a love story, a sad story, and a story of hope. Liesel is the book thief, but I fell in love with her friend Rudy. Just read it, if you haven’t yet. You won’t regret it.

Candy from Emergence by David R. Palmer.  I’m so glad I thought of this book. It’s been years since I read it, but it ranks high up on my list of favorite SF stories.  Candy is an incredibly smart eleven-year-old survivor of a bionuclear plague.  With her pet parrot Terry, she sets out on a journey to find other survivors.  Yes, it sounds like a million other post-apocalyptic novels, but it’s unlike anything else you’ll ever read. I’m holding on tight to my frayed paperback copy, because unfortunately, Emergence is out of print at the moment.

Fire from Fire by Kristin Cashore. I am eagerly awaiting Bitterblue, the final book in Cashore’s trilogy, but until then I can gush over Fire, the second in the series. In this world, Fire is called a monster.  She has fiery red, beautiful hair and can control people and read their minds.  She is such a unique character, that it’s hard to compare her to anyone else.

Jake from The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan. Jake is the last werewolf on Earth, and he is one bad-ass dude.  But he’s also handsome, suave and charismatic. Plus he has the heart of a poet. Or at least Duncan does. Jake has been around the block and has given up hope, and now that he’s being hunted, he’s almost ready to go quietly.  You kinda feel sorry for the guy, but he finds the will to live when he meets…well, I don’t want to spoil it for you…

Myfawny Thomas from The Rook by Daniel O’Malley. “Myfawny” rhymes with “Tiffany.”  That’s one of the first things you learn about this wonderful character, told in her own words.  I loved The Rook and just never got around to writing a review, but Myfawny’s first person account of how she wakes up in someone else’s body (she’s actually lost her memory) and how she solves the mystery of who exactly is trying to kill her is one of the more original stories I’ve read recently.

Unnamed narrator from Incendiary by Chris Cleave.  The subject matter about a London bombing at a soccer game is tough to swallow,  and I don’t think I would have been able to get through it if it weren’t for the heart-felt narration of a woman whose husband and son were killed in the stadium.  Written as a letter to Osama bin Laden,  the narrator’s voice is fraught with sorrow and anger, but she gets through the horrible days after the bombing with a wry humor. She is truly an unforgettable woman.

Iko from Cinder by Marissa Meyer.  One of my most recent five-star reviews, Cinder is a SF take on the Cinderella fairy tale. Its structure follows the events in the classic tale, but the unique characters make this quite different. I love the character of Cinder, but I actually loved her android Iko even more.  Iko is quite intelligent for an android, and she is Cinder’s constant companion.  She keeps Cinder’s secrets just like a real friend, and you won’t believe what happens to her near the end of the story, or how Meyer sets the stage for Iko’s reappearance in the next book in the series, Scarlet.

Kvothe from The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. Kvothe is everything a great character should be: dashing, a talented musician and gifted with the ability to do just about everything well. He’s also irreverent and has a mysterious past. He makes women swoon and breaks lots of rules.  I didn’t like Rothfuss’ second book, The Wise Man’s Fear, as much, but I did find even more to love about Kvothe.

Karou from Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor. Here’s another quirky, intelligent and talented female character with colored hair! Daughter of Smoke & Bone was a favorite of mine last year, mostly due to the characters, but also because Laini’s writing is so vibrant and engaging. You can tell she truly loves the characters she is writing about, and that makes the reader love them as well. Deep down I want to be Karou, a girl who can make wishes come true and has blue hair.

Lisbeth Salander from The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson.  Although she is abused in the beginning of the story, Lisbeth gets her sweet revenge and never lets the bad guys crush her spirit. How can you not love a character like that? And she’s a computer hacker to boot. I don’t really want to be her, but I do admire her tenacity and focus.

So, who are your favorite characters?

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Tammy’s Top Ten Books to Read in a Day

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, and this week we are asked to pick ten books that we would read in one day. I interpret this as books that are so engaging that I can’t stop reading! If only I still had time to read a book in a day…I think those days are well behind me, but that doesn’t mean I can’t think of ten books that would fit the bill if I had absolutely nothing else to do for a whole day! So here we go…

1. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer.  OK, all you Twi-haters, this may come as a shock to you, but before it became fashionable to hate the Twilight series, this book was actually given good reviews by the publishing industry. I am happy to say that I read Twilight long before it became popular, and I was so taken with it, that I emailed everyone I knew and told them to drop everything and go get it!  Stephenie Meyer may be the brunt of sparkly vampire jokes now, but she was able to pull off something rare: she created an amazing chemistry between two characters that compelled you to keep reading.  In fact, this is the only time I’ve ever finished a book, then immediately turned back to page one and read it a second time. No, she’s not the best prose writer out there, but let’s give credit where it’s due: this book created a sensation. I dare anyone out there to prove me wrong.

2. Harry Potter (any or all of them) by J. K. Rowling. This selection should be on everyone’s list this week, I think.  Rowling is a master story-teller, and she deserves every bit of fame she’s struggled for.  The Harry Potter books are extremely readable and hard to put down once you’ve started.  I love the way they evolved over the years, as Rowling herself matured as a writer.  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone may have been written for kids, but The Deathly Hallows that ended the series had a different audience in mind.

3. Incarceron by Catherine Fisher.  This unique story kept me turning pages as fast as I could.  The main characters are separated throughout most of the story, which made the tension palpable. Finn is a prisoner in Incarceron, and Claudia is the daughter of the prison warden, who doesn’t even know Incarceron exists, until she discovers a secret.  Her follow-up to Incarceron, Sapphique, was not as engaging for me, but the writing and world-building in both are top rate. Fisher really knows her stuff, and if you haven’t read the books, I suggest you add them to your list.

4. His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman.  Another unique concept, The Golden Compass and the two books that follow it, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass, ought to be as widely read as the Harry Potter books, but their controversial anti-church theme has kept them from reaching a wider audience. The characters are amazing, and Pullman’s idea of each person having their soul embodied by an animal struck me as genius. Forget the movie, read the books. You won’t regret it.

5. Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor.  Lots of hype about this book pre-publication did not detract from its greatness. The story of a girl who uses wishes to do things like make her hair blue was so original and readable that it was over before I knew it.  Although some of the elements feel familiar, like the fact that Karou is a girl trying to find out who she really is, mostly the book is loaded with originality. Laini’s other books are just as good, and her buoyant writing style just makes you happy! Plus, this cover is gorgeous, I love its simplicity. I can’t wait for her next book…

6. The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt.  My book club just read this, and yes, it was my pick, I’m happy to say.  This western set in Oregon and California during the 1850’s gold rush was compelling for many reasons, but mostly for the first person narrative of Eli, one of the brothers in the title.  Charlie and Eli Sisters are hired guns, and they have been recruited to kill a man in California.  The tale of how they attempt to do this is strange, violent, and at times, tender-hearted.  This funny and irreverent tale should not be missed.

7. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.  I’ve mentioned this book before, but it definitely falls in the category of books that are hard to put down.  I’ve noticed a pattern to all my picks, and that is that they all have unique worlds and compelling characters.  With so many over-used plots out there, it’s nice to find writers that work hard to go against the grain.  Ready Player One is set in a horrible future where people escape into a virtual computer world rather than face real life.  It’s a mind-bending concept and I found myself literally forgetting which world I was in.  Plus, a futuristic novel that glorifies the 80’s? How can you not want to read that!

8. Cinder by Marissa Meyer.  Cinder is still fresh in my mind, so I immediately thought of it when compiling this list. Again, it’s got a special and clever idea that borrows from something recognizable (the fairy tale of Cinderella) and drops it into an unfamiliar framework (science fiction). This combination, especially in the hands of a talented writer, is unbeatable.  Knowing there are three future books in the Lunar Chronicles is gratifying, but having to wait a year for the second installment is going to be torture.  Read it and you’ll see what I mean.

9. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. It’s hard to keep track of all the different series Cassandra Clare has going on, but it all started with this book, by far my favorite.  Great characters, romance, special powers, and a story that will keep you reading long past your bedtime, City of Bones has it all for me.  The narrative moves fast, and it has that element we’re all looking for in a story: it makes us want to know what happens next.  Not only would I read this in a day, but I would go back and re-read it if I had time.

10. Hyperion by Dan Simmons.  Simmons is a rock star, no matter what genre he writes in, but I have to say his Hyperion books are still my favorite.  This one and The Fall of Hyperion are classics, and I don’t mean because they were written twenty years ago.  Simmons’ imagination is unsurpassed in my book, and even though Hyperion is a bit lengthy, you will not want to stop reading once you have started.

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